Press Release
ROUTE06, Inc.
November 17, 2021

ROUTE06 and Mitsubishi Materials collaborate on the development of the E-Scrap exchange platform MEX
~ Digitally connecting the world’s largest smelter and urban mine to support recycling business expansion ~

ROUTE06, Inc. (headquarters: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Founder / CEO: Takafumi Endo, hereafter: ROUTE06) has announced that it has collaborated with Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (hereafter: “Mitsubishi Materials”) in the development of the E-Scrap exchange platform MEX.

MEX will commence operation from December 20th as an online service serving as the gateway to Mitsubishi Materials’ E-Scrap exchange, which possesses the world’s largest acceptance and processing capacity. MEX is expected to promote the recycling of E-Scrap, which is known as an urban mine, and contribute to the expansion of Mitsubishi Materials’ metal recycling business globally. Note that this project is the first achievement of the Business DX in MMDX (Mitsubishi Materials Digital Business Transformation), the digitization strategy they pursue.

The expanding E-Scrap market

E-Scrap is the discarded circuit boards from home appliances, personal computers, smartphones, etc., and it contains high concentrations of gold, silver, copper, palladium and other valuable metals.

The demand for resources is increasing globally while on the other hand development of new mines is difficult, so utilizing the dormant E-Scrap in cities is essential for securing metal resources going forward (*1). In recent years, along with the improvement in the recycling rate in each country around the world against the background of rising environmental awareness, the amount of E-Scrap processed domestically expanded by approximately three times over the ten years until 2018 and going forward the utilization of E-Scrap is projected to expand worldwide (*2).

The E-Scrap business of Mitsubishi Materials

For a long time, Mitsubishi Materials have accepted and processed E-Scrap taking advantage of its strength, the Mitsubishi Process for continuous copper smelting, a unique technology for smelting precious metals with the industry’s top environmental impact reduction performance, and currently boast the world’s number one E-Scrap acceptance and processing capacity of approximately 160,000 tons annually (equivalent to 20% of the approximately 800,000 tons of E-Scrap generated worldwide). Going forward, their plan is to further increase the E-Scrap acceptance and processing capacity to approximately 200,000 tons annually by the end of fiscal 2030.

Furthermore, as a contribution to a sustainable society, the Mitsubishi Materials Group overall is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 17% (compared to fiscal 2013) by fiscal 2030, and promotion of the processing of E-Scrap is expected the replace and reduction of fossil fuels.

E-Scrap (illustration)

E-Scrap exchange platform MEX

MEX is an online service which is derived from the Mitsubishi Materials E-Scrap Exchange and serves as a gateway to E-Scrap trading with Mitsubishi Materials. It enables reservations for bringing E-Scrap into the smelter and the other necessary procedures in E-Scrap exchange with Mitsubishi Materials to be carried out online at any time. In addition to the improved convenience and reliability offered by the UI which can be operated intuitively and by the display of the exchange status and photographs of the E-Scrap at the time of its arrival at the smelter, MEX is equipped with robust information management and generous client support, so it provides an environment in which customers can exchange E-Scrap with greater peace of mind than previously. Furthermore, it is predicated on global expansion, including support for multilingualization and compliance with overseas laws and regulations, etc., so it is a platform that can meet more diverse needs.

MEX as a platform (illustration diagram)

By providing MEX, Mitsubishi Materials has enabled operational procedures to be put online and made smooth data connecting with other operational systems, etc. possible, and thereby realized data-driven operations improvement. Moreover, operation of the world-leading smelters including the Naoshima Smelter is expected to be more efficient because the exchange of E-Scrap is centralized on MEX.

Main functions of MEX

  • Reservations for bringing E-Scrap into the smelter
  • Display of exchange status and grade from receiving to completion of analysis
  • Display of the progress from receiving to completion of analysis and the assay
  • Handling of online inquiries
MEX operating screen (illustration)

Details of the collaboration

  • Digital business strategic planning of a digital business strategy
  • Service and operations design and UI/UX design
  • Project management and agile development management
  • Data-driven service and operations improvement support

Endorsements

Mr. Tetsuro Sakai, Managing Executive Officer and President, Metals Company at Mitsubishi Materials Corporation

Our company is focused on the B-to-B business, and in particular the major products of the Metals Company are non-ferrous metals and chemical products which are not familiar to the general public. The business has a long history and until now mainly consisted of long-term trading with specific customers. On the other hand, E-Scrap customers are highly diverse in terms of their business scale, region, and the timing of their entry into the business, etc. For that reason, MEX, an interface connecting the customers to this company, must have a good design with broad access, good operability, and familiarity, and must be easy to use. I believe that this project skillfully matches this concept with the mission of ROUTE06 to “Create a society where real and digital are smoothly connected.” I hope that with MEX as a gateway more people will participate, the E-Scrap business will expand, and consequently we can contribute to the development of the industry.

Mr. Mitsuru Kameyama, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at Mitsubishi Materials Corporation

MEX is highly significant in the sense that as the “spearhead” of MMDX it will accelerate MMDX overall by presenting specific outcomes. I think that the integration of the knowledge cultivated over the long history of this company with the fresh perspectives of ROUTE06, while the two companies share the vision they are aiming for, is also a major outcome as the embodiment of MMDX aiming for a “diverse One Team.” I am grateful to ROUTE06 which has led full-remote actions with a sense of speed while proceeding with an understanding of the ideas of each of the people on the front line.

Mr. Takafumi Endo, Founder / CEO of ROUTE06, Inc.

Due to MEX, it is possible for domestic and overseas customers to access world-leading smelting technology more easily. It is expected that the release of an exchange platform by Mitsubishi Materials, a leading company in the industry, will contribute to accelerating the growth of the E-Scrap market overall. I am greatly honored that our humble company, which was a startup in the first year after its founding when it participated in the project, was chosen as a partner in this kind of project which can be said to be the mainstream of DX. Going forward, we will continue to support the digital transformation of Mitsubishi Materials through improvement of the functions of MEX and pursuit of better client experiences.

*1: Quoted from the Overseas Expansion Strategy (Recycling) by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment
*2: Japan Mining Industry Association study

About ROUTE06, Inc.

ROUTE06 has established “creating a society where real and digital are smoothly connected” as its mission and provides digital solutions specializing in new business support and business transformation for major companies. In an era in which people’s lives are enveloped by digital technologies, ROUTE06 will contribute to the creation of new corporate value by creating both business opportunities that utilize existing assets and digital-first user experiences (UX).

Incorporated: January 24, 2020
URL: https://route06.co.jp
Location: 11F Shibuya Dogenzaka Sky Building, 28-1 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0044
Representative: Takafumi Endo
Description of business: digital product development, enterprise software services, DX consulting